Site list (GPS fixes)
Walks (GPS tracks)
Making SMT boards
1976, 1977, 1979,
1982, 1983, 1985,
1986, 1987, 1988,
1989, 2000, 2001,
2002, 2003, 2004,
2005, 2006, 2007,
2008, 2009, 2010,
2011, 2012, 2013,
2014, 2015, 2016,
2017, 2018, 2019
Mexico, New England
The Battle of
Expedition log, Spring 2019
Villa, Tebrandi, Boriza & Pozo de Fresno, Potes, Tresviso, Bolado.
Click on, or tap, any image thumbnail for
a full-size version.
||Mike arrived Bilbao on schedule, and with four hours to wait had plenty of time to review plans, maps, etc. Bill’s plane from Milan happily arrived 20 minutes early and Bill appeared landside just six minutes after touchdown! Picking up the hire car was also achieved in record time and we were soon on the road heading for our first speleological ‘site of interest’.
This was the Hoyo de Fuentejuyo sink (1.7 km SW of Oriñón) spotted
on the map some months ago; in beautiful weather (17°C and blue
skies) we descended close to the watercourse shown on the map but
there was no detectable water and no real chance of getting to the
assumed sink through dense undergrowth. So ... onward to the second
Again found from the map, the sink Δ for
the huge Hazas depression is 2.5 km WNW of the Oriñón resurgence
(and quite likely to be its source). It was easy to get to and was
situated beneath an impressive overhanging limestone cliff, which
was festooned with various climbing aids. Somewhat as expected the
water disappeared into various holes that were blocked by debris
and mud, but definitely worth the check. A sign above it stated
‘Ojo de Recueva’.
Hazas depression sink
Day-one speleological objectives more-or-less achieved, we headed
west via Oruña to Llanes. It being a February Thursday, most restaurants
were closed but we had a pleasant light dinner at El Almacén.
||Up at 9 and a brisk walk along the Llanes harbour quayside took us to the Bitácora bar for 2 large coffees. This still left us hungry so on our way to El Mazuco we also stopped at the Sidrería Jovino in Posada for yet more. We noted that they served food too!
After the difficulty finding open restaurants the previous night
we checked “El Sucón” near Debodes but it was closed, and the restaurant
“El Roxin” in El Mazuco was fully booked for lunch due to the (previously
unknown to us) fiesta del Ángel de la Guarda. There was an
unusual volume of traffic on the single-track roads. We decided
to postpone the drone flying at El Mazuco (because it would probably
have been impossible to drive back through the village) and instead
drove up the track beyond the Ruiz Sanchez house in Villa (first
frequented in 1973!). We parked at the westerly hairpin and proceeded
to the TV antenna at the top of the ridge at 400m. Limestone all
around, and to the south we could see the snow-covered Picos de Europa.
To the north Vibaño and Rales. Total walking about 75 minutes (3
Bill on the way to the Villa TV mast
We decided on lunch at Casa María in Mestas de Con and had the
menu del día at €12. Fabada for both, trout for Bill and
escalope for Mike. Average quality food.
Proceeding west then south we parked at the “Orandi Track” Δ on the road to the lakes and ascended past
banks of primroses until we got to the so-called meadow above where
we expected the Trumbio cave passage to be. It certainly looked
pretty with limestone pavement, occasional water courses, woods.
The paths were mainly dry and only barbed wire presented obstacles.
Mike found a small hole leading to a shallow pool but this is not
very likely to be the entrance that our Spanish colleagues discovered.
Total walking time 70 minutes again. Stopped in Benia for a drink
on way back to Llanes. Dinner at La Llosa.
Orandi ‘Trumbio meadow’ primroses
||Up at 9:30; had coffee in Uria bar and had another in Sidrería Jovino.
Proceeded to Asiegu (about 2km NW of Carreña) and up the narrow unpaved
road north towards Tebrandi. Shock, horror! A vehicle coming down!
Then after passing, another driving up in the distance. As a matter
of courtesy to any landowners we parked at around 690m only to notice
that a rear tyre seemed very deflated! Would we be able to descend
without incident? Somewhat worried we walked the last 1.2km in bright
sunshine and a brisk breeze.
At the end of the road we checked the valley descending west but
there was no sign of the two springs marked on the map nor any water
course. In fact the bottom of the valley is not limestone at all.
We retreated to the track again to launch the drone close to the
high point of the track Δ
to take photos of the Sierra de Cuera (north) and the snowy Picos
to the south; captured successfully in this panorama image (30MB, suitable for viewing with PanGazer »)
which also shows the smoke from an unusual winter wildfire.
Tebrandi drone view, SSW
After a very slow and careful descent we checked the tyres above
Asiegu village and all seemed fine! The apparent deflation was due
to the uneven and sloping ground where we had parked. Nevertheless
we pumped up the tyre in Arenas where we had a lighter lunch of chorizo
a la sidra and patatas con Cabrales (as we were in Cabrales,
the cheese sauce was above average) at Sidrería Calluenga. Returned
via Panes to Llanes via Vidiago to admire the “bufones”, where the
rough sea forces air and sea spray through fissures in the limestone.
There she blows!
Back to Llanes to discover it was Carnival day. Mike found a viewpoint
on the Town Hall steps and was surprised at the spectacle; it was
much bigger than expected, with some very clever floats and troupes;
it took an hour and a half for all to pass the Town Hall; the final
troupe had 80 people or more.
Dinner early at Taberna Mezcolanza (the old ‘El Galeon’) where we
both had Secreto Ibérico (tender roast pork) washed down with
Ribera del Duero.
||To the ‘Mexican’ café for breakfast coffee; the café sported a number of people in carnival costumes and drinking beer; presumably the bar had stayed open all night.
Then to Posada for breakfast part two, and on up to El Mazuco in
nice weather. Objective this time to investigate the Boriza possible
high-level cave with the drone. As hoped, the lack of leaves on
the trees gave much better views, and with tripod view settings (and
more experienced pilot) we were able to fly the drone much closer
than last year. Sadly, it still wasn’t clear whether there’s a going
cave there – but there is a promising opening (see arrow in attached
Drone pic of possible Boriza upper entrance
Next back via the ‘car paddock’ Δ to
fly the drone over Pozo de Fresno, both Mike and Bill piloting, to
again take advantage of no leaves on the trees – although the white
Ash twigs acted quite effectively as a net curtain.
Missions accomplished for the morning we headed in the direction
of Ribadesella in search of lunch. We ended up at the (new to us)
Sidrería Muros in Nueva de Llanes which seemed partly built of barrels
and had a fine grill – so somehow Secreto Ibérico was eaten
again! Just as good as the evening before in Llanes.
Bill in cave by the road to Playa de Cuevas del Mar
Perfect weather again, so then North to the Playa de Cuevas del Mar
for various explorations of many small caves at the beach and a little
Then, as the wind was picking up ahead of storm Freya, a longish
walk to the Bufones near Llames; spectacular waves, more noisily-venting
holes, and spouting sea-water geysers.
||The weather forecast had predicted a cold and very wet day but blue skies and sunshine welcomed us yet again when we got up at the usual 9:30 for breakfast. Nevertheless we persisted with the ‘wet’ plan, driving south from Unquera and up the Deva Gorge. Due to lack of safe parking places we cancelled the drone flight up to Pozu del Infierno entrance, so our first stop was at La Hermida. La Cuadrona, where we had hoped to get a plate of Picón de Bejes (blue cheese), was closed, but the Bar Restaurante Paquin was open and we had a small glass of Rioja.
In 2018 we had been unable to reach the town of Potes (further south)
due to road works. This year, the road was open but surprisingly
the road works were still continuing, widening the narrow road and
bridges up the gorge. The lights directing the alternating one-way
traffic were not well synchronized and we had a worrying moment encountering
an oncoming truck head-on at a blind corner. We stopped for a hike
up the track towards Cicera, but the entire valley was in the shade
so it was rather cold. Retracing our footsteps we returned to the
car and reached Potes only to find it was market day and parking
was difficult. Had a plate of Picón cheese washed down with Protos
(Ribera del Duero) at the “La Serna” bar after walking round the
town. Hunger not being satisfied, we had yet another plate of a
different Picón (Tresviso) at Paquin, but the tinto was “corked”
(very rare in Spain) and we did not finish it.
Riega Cicera stream
Returning to Llanes we stopped on the coast to watch (and hear) the
Bufones at Vidiago. The sea was rough and we were rewarded by high
waves pushing air and salt sea spray through caves. There she blows!
Most restaurants in Llanes were closed outside the weekend but Uria
was open, where we were served by the same lady as 40 years ago!
Paella for both then lomo for Bill and filete al Cabrales
(with blue cheese sauce) for Mike.
Weather all blue-sky again, so off to the mountains via Arenas de
Cabrales, Tielve, and Sotres, to the little TV mast at 1240m (Cdo.
de la Caballar) where we stopped for a lookaround – and found that
the very keen wind gave strength to our plan to go downhill when
we started walking. Our start point was the junction of the Bejes
track with the Sotres–Tresviso road, at 1300m. Spectacular scenery,
enlivened by the drifts of icy snow that caused us some (but not
too much) walking over the snow. The rapid loss of height and the
temperature when not out of the wind made this a shorter walk than
usual, but a good one. Carried on to Tresviso to re-acquaint with
the rustic bar and its fine views.
On the way back we noticed a cave entrance at Δ
(approximately), visible from the road ESE .. to be added to the
summer to-do list [interestingly it is not visible on StreetView,
due to trees]. Although we had the drone in the car, this is (just)
inside the National Park, so no flying of any kind is permitted;
this will have to be an exploration on foot, fortunately a track
goes close by.
Sotres/Tresviso view from carpark
Lunch of cabritu (goat kid) at the Sidrería Calluenga in Arenas
– asado for Bill, chuletillas for Mike. Not as good as
lamb, but very acceptable.
Mike in Cueva Bolado
Back to Llanes via Posada, but as it was relatively early and we
were feeling keen, we diverted to Cueva Bolado for some
real caving. Almost found the main route on the first try, and soon
got to the main sandy cavern at the end; the stalagmites looked amazingly
pristine and white. The big surprise was finding a stream in the
cave that we’d never noticed in summer visits; on exiting we soon
found its resurgence.
Back to the hotel, and another dinner in Almacén (remarkably few
restaurants being open).
||Because of Bill’s early flight on the 7th, today was a travelling day
to move closer to Bilbao. As we paid the bill at Hotel Sablón we
were pleasantly surprised to receive a gift of local cheeses at reception!
We drove east via La Borbolla (with a walk towards the resurgence,
and noticing an orange tree ‘in fruit’). No sign of any abandoned
high level resurgence was seen notwithstanding the lack of obscuring
vegetation at this time of year.
Next stop was Restaurante Las Filipinas in Comillas for a drink before
proceeding to Puentecilla for lunch. We had a relatively expensive
menú del día at €17 each. The merluza (hake) stuffed with
mushrooms was good and unusual.
Castro Urdiales promenade
After lunch there was some light rain and we arrived in Castro Urdiales
at 15:30. Went to the ‘green bar’, checked into the hotel, then
(as the rain had stopped) walked round the town. La Marinera bar
and many others were closed. Later, it started raining more seriously
as we were writing up the log, so dinner in the hotel cafetería (the
restaurant was ‘closed’).
||Up early to catch Bill’s 10:45 flight; uneventful travels except atrocious driving weather in the UK. Mike makes up for a week of few vegetables with a seriously veggie lunch.
- Exchange rate: 1.16 EUR/GBP (compared to 1.425 in 2015, 1.26 in
2016, 1.14 in 2017 and 2018); 85.5p = 1 Euro = 166 pesetas (194 pts/GBP).
- Petrol was €1.259/litre.
- Weather: essentially perfect; it could have been May or June, not
March. A little rain on the final (mostly travel) day.
- The drone flown was a DJI Mavic Pro »;
33min in total.
GPX tracks of the drone flights may be available if you contact
- The pictures in this log were taken using a Panasonic TZ100 camera,
a Panasonic LF1, various phones, and the drone.
- Specific GPS positions are shown by a delta symbol (Δ)
in the log above – click on the symbol for a Google maps view of
the fix. These positions are also listed on the Speleogroup site list page with coordinates in °,′,″ degrees using
European 1950 datum and in UTM coordinates (both matching Spanish
maps and the digital TOPO Penínsular Norte); see Coordinate systems.
- Fixes and tracks were recorded using a Sony Xperia Z3 Android ’phone
using the MyTrails app (or by the drone, for drone flights).
- This log was almost entirely edited in the field on a Lenovo Yoga
notebook, using the
MemoWiki » extended
Wiki notation which is then processed by a
Rexx » script to generate the HTML for this